Enterprises depend on reports to move processes forward and to manage their businesses for optimal efficiency and effectiveness. Washington, DC-based Ullico Insurance knows that insurers are no exception to this rule.
Ullico was founded in 1927 to provide life insurance to union members at a time when it was not otherwise available to them. Today, the company and its 270 employees provide a range of property, health and life insurance to union members and union leaders. It also delivers innovative risk management solutions for investments in infrastructure that have created thousands of union jobs across America.
The Challenge of Manual Report Distribution
Reports are an essential part of all businesses. Among other purposes, they help organizations to better manage and control their operations. But what if managing those documents placed an unnecessary burden on the enterprise? Paper-based reports do exactly that.
Paper is cumbersome. It has to be distributed manually. Delivery, possibly by mail or courier, takes a long time. And it can be lost or misdirected.
Furthermore, physical reports are expensive. The most obvious cost is the paper itself, but the documents also occupy a lot of space. The real estate costs incurred to store paper documents can be substantial, particularly when they have to be retained for several years for business or regulatory reasons.
Those were some of the challenges that paper reports imposed on Ullico, challenges that the company has overcome with the help of Deliver Now from Fortra.
Automated Report Distribution with Deliver Now
Deliver Now is a complete report delivery solution that automates document distribution across an organization. The software automatically monitors, converts and delivers reports, forms and other documents from key business systems on any platform, including ERP, SharePoint and other business applications. This innovative functionality is helping Ullico to transition into a lower-cost, higher-productivity, paper-free environment.
Ullico had already been using Fortra's WinSpool to turn spooled output into electronic documents, but that process required manual intervention. Ullico wanted a way to fully automate the solution. The answer was Deliver Now, the next generation of WinSpool.
Ullico currently uses Deliver Now primarily for its IBM i-based (AS/400) group administration system, which produces member information, claims and bank balance reports, among other documents. In any given month, this application alone produces about 900 reports, particularly at month end. Each document can be distributed to several recipients.
To implement Deliver Now, the IT department worked with users to determine which reports needed to be delivered electronically. The IT department then easily built filters that Deliver Now uses to draw the reports from the IBM i-based application. Deliver Now then places those reports into a network folder structure that the company set up on Windows-based servers.
The company’s intranet polls that folder structure. Whenever it finds a new report it creates a link that can be used to access that report. Users then view reports through the company’s BEA AquaLogic Portal (now an Oracle product).
Using this solution, report delivery is transparent and seamless. “In fact, end users aren’t even aware of Deliver Now,” said Marc Zinsmeister, Director of IT Operations.
Electronic delivery eliminates paper costs and ensures that reports are not misfiled, misdirected or misplaced. In addition, Ullico is going through its physical files and culling reports that no longer need to be retained, thereby reducing the space devoted to paper storage.
Deliver Now allows reports to be saved in a wide range of formats, including PDF, RTF and text files, and delivered to a variety of destinations. Taking advantage of the PDF capability, Ullico expanded report distribution beyond the company’s walls. Deliver Now has become a key component of Ullico’s enterprise report distribution strategy, helping them move closer to the goal of centralized electronic reporting and information delivery.
Sold on the value of Deliver Now, Ullico plans to expand its use to other systems in the future.
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